Student Union Financial Report: Winter 2020
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In their VISIAN platform, senior and Student Union (SU) President Vishwaa Sofat and junior and SU Vice President Julian Giordano proposed to increase the SU’s transparency and communication with the student body by continuing to collaborate with The Spectator on its financial reports. The pair made good on their campaign promise and released information regarding the SU’s yearly allocations and profits from the past school year, the club and pubs that received the most funding, and the breakdown of SING! expenses and revenue.
FINANCIAL REPORT COORDINATED WITH VISHWAA SOFAT (SU PRESIDENT), JULIAN GIORDANO (SU VICE PRESIDENT), AND EUGENE SEO (SU CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER)
WHAT IS THE YEARLY BEGINNING BALANCE, AND WHY DOES IT FLUCTUATE?
The yearly beginning balance is the amount of money that the SU starts off with at the start of every year. The SU uses this balance to determine Club-Pub allocations, SING! allocations, event allocations, and other expenditures for the year. Currently, much of the SU budget acts as an emergency cushion that would allow the SU to continue all of its operations, even if it raised no revenue.
HOW DOES THE SU MAKE ITS REVENUE?
The SU’s revenue comes mainly from SING! ticket sales, with other revenue streams including apparel sales, BooGrams!, and caucus events such as bake sales, movie nights, and dances. The difference in revenue year to year depends on the success of events and initiatives started under each administration.
WHAT ARE ALLOCATIONS FOR CLUBS, PUBLICATIONS, AND OTHER ACTIVITIES? HOW DOES THE SU DETERMINE THEM, AND WHY DID LAST YEAR’S ALLOCATIONS DECREASE SO MUCH?
At the start of each year, the SU Budget Committee—which consists of the Budget Department, Clubs & Pubs Department, SU President, Vice President, Executive Council, and the caucuses—uses the beginning balance to place a cap on allocations for activity funding for the year. Two rounds of allocations (one in the fall and one in the spring) are hosted, and all chartered activities have the opportunity to apply for funding, provided their request complies with the budget request rules. The rules prohibit allocations for expenses such as food and beverages, apparel, and trips that are not approved by the administration. After applying, organizations schedule an in-person meeting with the SU Budget Committee to discuss follow-up questions and affordable alternatives to current requests. Afterward, the committee votes on final allocations with the goal of funding as many activities as possible in a sustainable manner.
In the 2018-19 school year, fewer activities applied for large allocations, which accounts for the decrease in funding compared to surrounding years.
WHY DID SIX CLUBS RECEIVE MUCH MORE FUNDING THAN OTHER ORGANIZATIONS IN THE 2019 FALL ALLOCATIONS?
Large organizations such as Speech and Debate, Model United Nations, Stuy MSA, and Stuy Competitive Coding Club spend the bulk of their allocations on conferences, tournaments, and trip fees (so as to make these events less expensive for their members), which is why they make up nearly two-thirds of the total funds given out. Meanwhile, activities such as Stuy Podcast and StuyFlow required the purchase of new equipment, namely microphones and glow sticks. This equipment will last for many years and help both clubs expand. The SU also funded 17 other clubs, which collectively received the remaining $2,540.19.
HOW DOES THE SU DETERMINE THE AMOUNT OF MONEY ALLOCATED FOR CAUCUS AND SU EVENTS?
The SU follows the Cost Revenue Analysis (CRA) model to determine allocations for events. Caucuses and Event Planning teams make itemized budgets with projected sales on a range of ticket prices. The SU Chief Finance Officers both review the CRA and approve the expenditure based on past records of sales, taking into consideration both student affordability and SU profitability.
WHAT ARE SING! ALLOCATIONS AND EXPENSES?
Each SING! was allocated a “base” of $1,200 in 2018-2019, as they were in 2017-2018. This base supplements the dues collected by each SING! and helps them cover production-specific expenses. At the same time, the SU does make purchases on behalf of all of SING! at certain times.
In addition to these allocations, the SU often pays the Galaxy Budget, which covers the cost for the SING! faculty advisors; this is why the expenses from 2017-2018 were much higher compared to other years. The SU also funds SING! video productions, playbills, and concessions. While the SU still funds SING! apparel sales, these have largely been incorporated into the cost of dues.